Symptoms to Look for After a Fall

March 7, 2024 | By Nicolette R. Nicoletti
Symptoms to Look for After a Fall

Falling has the potential to disrupt your day or even have long-lasting impacts on your life. From slipping on a freshly mopped floor in a grocery store to tripping over an uneven sidewalk or faulty stairs, falls can happen in the most unexpected places and lead to serious injuries. Sometimes, the severity of these injuries immediately appears, but not always.

Recognizing when you need professional medical care following a fall benefits your health and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the symptoms to look out for after experiencing a fall, emphasizing the importance of monitoring your condition closely, even if you initially feel fine.

By being informed about these key indicators, you can ensure that you seek the necessary medical treatment to address any potential injuries and support your recovery process. Then, always discuss potential financial recovery with a slip and fall lawyer in your area.

Persistent Pain After a Fall

Slip and Fall Symptoms

A fall can lead to a sudden onset of pain, which might lessen or escalate over time. If pain persists or intensifies after the initial shock has worn off, seek medical evaluation.

Persistent pain can signify fractures, sprains, strains, or muscle injuries. Even seemingly minor back or neck pain warrants medical attention to rule out more severe injuries.

Sudden, Sharp Pain

Sharp, acute pain, especially when pressure or movement is applied to the area, can indicate a serious injury such as a fracture. Even if there are no visible signs like deformity or protrusion, the presence of sharp pain should prompt immediate medical consultation. Some fractures, like those in the hip, may not be immediately visible but can cause significant discomfort.

Noticing Swelling or Disfigurement

Swelling can be a sign of various injuries, from fractures to sprains. It might not be apparent immediately after a fall but can develop or worsen over hours or days. A healthcare professional should examine any noticeable swelling, especially if it's accompanied by pain.

Signs of a Head Injury

Head injuries can manifest in several ways, including but not limited to changes in vision, ringing in the ears, headaches, dizziness, or cognitive changes such as confusion or memory issues. Even minor head injuries can have serious consequences, making it wise to seek medical attention for any of these symptoms following a fall.

New or Worsening Back Pain

If you experience a new onset of back pain or a noticeable increase in existing chronic back pain after a fall, get a medical evaluation. New or aggravated back pain can indicate injuries ranging from muscle strains to more serious conditions like herniated discs.

Severe Lacerations Require Attention

Cuts from a fall, particularly deep or severe ones, need prompt medical treatment to stop bleeding and prevent infection. Depending on the circumstances of the fall, you might also need additional interventions like a tetanus shot.

Stomach Pain Following a Fall

Stomach pain after a fall, even if the impact was on a different part of the body, can signal internal injuries or bleeding. It's best to seek immediate medical care to address potential internal damage.

Significant Bruising Can Indicate Underlying Issues

While bruising can be a common outcome of a fall, a healthcare provider should check extensive or particularly painful bruising. Beyond surface trauma, significant bruising can suggest deeper injuries.

Restricted Movement After a Fall

Stiffness and limited mobility post-fall might seem normal, but consult a medical professional if movement does not improve with gentle activity or if pain limits mobility. This can indicate a more serious injury requiring medical intervention.

Feeling Generally Unwell or "Off"

Trust your instincts—if something feels wrong following a fall, regardless of specific symptoms, get a medical evaluation. Healthcare professionals can provide a thorough assessment and peace of mind and identify any issues that might not be immediately obvious.

When to Seek Medical Attention After a Fall

Seeking medical attention following a fall is important for your health and recovery and plays a significant role if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim. Prompt medical care ensures that your injuries are properly documented and treated, facilitating your medical and legal recovery.

If someone else was responsible for your fall, your slip and fall attorney can use your timely medical records to prove your injuries for the purposes of your claim.

Immediate Symptoms Post-Fall

If you experience symptoms right after falling, consult a healthcare provider immediately. For severe or acute injuries, calling an ambulance might be necessary to safely transport you to the nearest hospital. In cases of less serious injuries, you might opt for transportation from friends or family to save on ambulance costs.

Assess the severity of your injuries carefully. Attempting to move might aggravate your condition, prolong recovery, and lead to more serious health issues. If there's a risk of further injury by moving, it's safer to call for emergency services.

What if I Have a Lack of Immediate Symptoms?

There are instances where symptoms might not be immediately noticeable after a fall. You might feel fine and consider skipping medical evaluation, especially if you're preoccupied with other activities.

However, even without apparent symptoms, get checked by a medical professional, particularly after a significant fall. This identifies and treats promptly any underlying injuries, and it helps your slip and fall lawyer prove causation if you pursue an injury claim.

Symptoms Developing Later

Sometimes, the full extent of injuries doesn't become apparent until hours or days after the incident. If you initially thought you were uninjured but then started to notice symptoms, seek medical evaluation as soon as possible.

Injuries, especially those related to the back or head, can manifest symptoms well after the incident. Getting medical attention promptly helps document the timing and cause of your injuries and can mitigate their severity, leading to a smoother recovery process.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents?

Slip and fall incidents can occur in many settings, often when least expected. They can result from personal oversight or unaddressed hazards.

The primary reasons for such accidents include:

  • Irregularities in sidewalks or floors
  • Presence of potholes or surface cracks
  • Unsecured floorboards
  • Spillage of liquids or food items
  • Obstructions due to exposed cables or similar tripping risks
  • Absence of handrails where needed
  • Instances of neglect or abuse in nursing homes
  • Inadequate lighting conditions
  • Surfaces made slippery by moisture
  • Damaged or faulty staircases

If a slip and fall incident occurs because a property owner failed to rectify these issues, it might provide a basis for pursuing a personal injury claim.

Types of Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and fall incidents can result in various injuries, each with its own symptoms, largely dependent on the fall's severity and which body parts bear the brunt of the impact. While falls often lead to injuries to the arms and head, the reality is that any part of the body can be affected.

Here's a rundown of common injuries associated with slip and fall accidents:

  • Bruises, Scrapes, and Cuts: These are typical outcomes of a fall, ranging from minor to severe. Bruises often appear on the legs or arms. It's advisable to get any significant bruise, scrape, or cut evaluated by a medical professional to ensure proper care is administered.
  • Sprains: Falling can instinctively lead to stretching out the arms to break the fall, putting immense strain on the wrists and potentially leading to sprains. Severe impacts can even result in broken wrists or ankles.
  • Broken Bones: A fall might require immediate medical attention if a fracture is suspected. Medical intervention is required for proper diagnosis and treatment, even if movement is still possible in the affected area.
  • Pulled Muscles or Stretched Tendons: The body's automatic tensing in anticipation of a fall, or awkward movements to mitigate the fall, can cause muscles or tendons to stretch or tear.
  • Fractures: Fractures occur when there's a break in bone continuity, often due to the force exerted during a slip and fall. Common fracture sites include wrists, arms, and collarbones.
  • Dislocations: Slip and falls can lead to dislocations, where bones at a joint are displaced from their normal alignment. Shoulder dislocations are particularly common in these incidents.
  • Tailbone Injuries: Falling at a certain angle can lead to landing on and potentially injuring the tailbone. Injuries can range from bruises to fractures, impacting the ability to sit or stand comfortably.
  • Spinal Injuries: A fall impacting the back can cause various spinal injuries, from slipped discs and nerve damage to more severe consequences like permanent spinal cord damage, which can result in paralysis.
  • Soft Tissue Damage: This type of injury, often invisible initially, can cause significant discomfort and may not show symptoms until days or weeks post-fall. Without treatment, it can lead to long-term pain and complications.
  • Head Injuries: Failing to protect the head during a fall can lead to head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms such as headaches, nausea, loss of balance, and dizziness might not manifest immediately but are serious indicators of trauma requiring medical attention.

Slip and Fall Accident Statistics

Slip and Fall Incident Report

Slip and fall incidents are a leading cause of injuries, with over 800,000 people hospitalized annually due to such accidents.

Here are statistics to consider regarding slip and fall injuries:

  • Fatalities and Falls: Each year, roughly 684,000 deaths globally are attributed to falls.
  • Financial Burden of Falls: The economic impact of falls is significant, with an annual expenditure of approximately $50 billion on medical costs for nonfatal falls in the United States alone. Fatal falls add another $754 million to this total.
  • Hip Fractures and Falls: An overwhelming 95 percent of hip fractures are from falling, particularly falls to the side, underscoring the serious consequences of these incidents.
  • Gender Differences in Fall Impact: Women are disproportionately affected by slip and fall accidents, representing three-quarters of all hip fracture cases.
  • Workplace Fall Statistics: In the realm of work-related injuries, slips, trips, and falls rank as the second leading cause of death and the third most common cause of nonfatal injuries.
  • Age-Related Risks: The elderly face a heightened risk of falling due to decreased mobility and balance, making falls more dangerous and frequent in this demographic.
  • Underreporting of Falls: Despite over a quarter of adults experiencing a fall each year, less than half report these incidents to healthcare providers, potentially overlooking serious injuries.
  • Falls Leading to Traumatic Brain Injuries: Falls are a major cause of traumatic brain injuries, accounting for nearly half of all TBI-related hospital admissions.

This data sheds light on the widespread issue of slip and fall accidents and their repercussions, emphasizing the importance of awareness, prevention, and timely reporting to mitigate risks and ensure appropriate medical care.

Dealing with Ambiguous Symptoms Post-Accident

After a slip and fall, it's not uncommon for people to believe they've emerged unscathed, especially when symptoms are not immediately noticeable or visible. This perceived lack of injury, however, can be misleading. Hidden injuries such as concussions, internal bleeding, or internal organ damage may not manifest through visible signs or immediate discomfort.

Consequently, even without clear symptoms, consulting a healthcare professional is a critical step. This evaluation ensures any concealed injuries are identified early, allowing timely intervention and preventing complications arising from untreated conditions.

Recognizing and Responding to Later-Emerging Symptoms

The emergence of symptoms, even days or weeks later, is a signal from your body that something is wrong. Common delayed symptoms can include, but are not limited to, persistent pain, dizziness, changes in mood or cognition, and unexplained discomfort.

If you notice any signs indicating a potential injury, seeking medical attention promptly is advised. Visiting an emergency room or scheduling an appointment with your physician facilitates the diagnosis and treatment of these late-appearing injuries and supports a personal injury claim by documenting the injury and its relation to the fall.

Even a diagnosis made later can significantly impact the management of your health and legal outcomes, emphasizing the importance of medical care regardless of the timing of symptom onset.

Consult a Slip and Fall Lawyer Today

After a fall accident caused by another's neglect, reach out to a personal injury attorney. Whether injuries appear immediately or develop over time, an attorney can provide guidance on your entitlements, including the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit and strategies to enhance your compensation recovery.

Nicolette R. Nicoletti Author Image

Nicolette R. Nicoletti

Managing Partner

Nicolette R. Nicoletti is the founder and managing partner of the Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers. She was born and raised in New Port Richey, Florida.  Nicolette attended Genesis Preparatory School and graduated salutatorian of her class.  She then went onto Saint Leo University for her undergraduate education. She graduated magna cum laude from the Honors Program with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  While at Saint Leo University, Nicolette was President of Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honor Society), Secretary of Alpha Phi Sigma (Criminal Justice Honor Society), and an active member of Delta Epsilon Sigma (National Scholastic Honor Society).

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